This week, I did both: I experimented with things which Laurent isn't crazy about. Like lentils. Actually, it's not that he doesn't like them, the problem is more that his father used to cook enormous batches of lentil and sausages for the New Year (it's an Italian tradition), and every year they would eat lentils for weeks on end - so Laurent considers that he has eaten enough lentils to last a lifetime.
The lentil soup I made the other day tasted fine, although I need to perfect the seasoning before I post a recipe. I also experimented with quinoa, lemongrass, and shrimp, another promising creation which will require some fine-tuning.
But I also made a great favourite of mine: a black bean quesadilla. I had not made one in a long time. Actually, I love pretty much anything with black beans in it, but the quesadilla is particularly fun to make - and eat! Enjoy the recipe!
Black Bean Quesadillas
4 whole wheat tortillas, 18cm (7 in) diameter
1 can black beans, 540 ml (19 oz liq), rinsed and drained
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp dried chili flakes
1 1/2 tsp cumin
2 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
120 ml (1/2 cup) grated cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
80 ml (1/3 cup) salsa
2 tbsp olive oil
Preheat the oven to 100ºC (200ºF).
In a large pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Cook the onion and garlic until slightly tender. Add the chili flakes, and half the cumin. Continue cooking for about 2 minutes. Add the beans and the rest of the cumin, and cook until warmed through. Add the fresh coriander. Remove from heat and set aside.
(Note: I did not add salt, because the cheese and salsa in the quesadilla are salty enough. However, if I were using these beans on their own (to make a dip, for instance), I would season with salt.)
Place a small, non-stick pan over medium heat. Lay a tortilla flat into the pan. Cover with a quarter of the cheese, making sure to leave a margin (to prevent the ingredients from spilling out). In layers, add half the beans, half the salsa, and another quarter of the cheese. Top with another tortilla.
Cook about 5 minutes, until the bottom tortilla is crispy and golden, and all the cheese has melted. Take a heatproof plate large enough to cover your entire pan (or at least the quesadilla), place it face-down against the pan, and flip the pan so as to end up with the quesadilla in the plate (the cooked side should be facing up). Pick up the quesadilla with a large spatula and put it back in the pan to cook the other side, until golden.
Remove the quesadilla from the pan, place it on a baking sheet and put it in the preheated oven to keep it warm while you make the second one. When both are ready, cut them into wedges. Serve with sour cream and guacamole.